Thursday, May 2, 2019

In Your House #26: Rock Bottom

"The Rock's birthday is May 2nd, you stupid son of a bitch!"

-The Rock

In honor of the Rock's birthday, which happens to be today, you stupid son of a bitch, I present an "unpublished" musings from a year or so ago covering the December 1998 WWF In Your House PPV spectacular, Rock Bottom.

We start with a promo from reigning WWF champion The Rock, cutting a promo at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in Vancouver and everyone cheering him on. Fun fact: the Rock is supposed to be a heel (or reviled bad guy), thanks to his joining the Corporation and screwing poor Mankind at the previous month's Survivor Series PPV. Hence, tonight's World title match.

Oh, by the way, your commentary team for this show and several others is comprised of Jerry "The King" Lawler and Michael Cole, filling in for Jim Ross, whose mother passed away and as a result, he was suffering from another bout of Bells' Palsy. As a result, Michael Cole has to fill the shoes that are simply too big for him to fill. Anyone who wants to bitch about modern-day Michael Cole may want to avoid these older shows with Cole on commentary because he is absolutely atrocious here. He says stupid things, he makes stupid observations... thank fuck he got better along the way because this was bad.

D'Lo Brown and Mark Henry defeated The Godfather and Val Venis in the opening contest that left me confounded. D'Lo and Mark have ladies and so does the pimp and adult film star. The ladies start arguing, Godfather tries to calm them down, and then Jackie low blows Val, allowing Henry to pick up the win. The reason I'm confounded is because I don't recall when D'Lo and Mark had an issue with Godfather. I know they had issues with the Rock because he was a big star, but why did the pimp get the cold shoulder? Anyway, this was fine for a lark. It was a bit short, but it was fun and the ladies looked nice.

The Headbangers (bald guys in grunge gear coming out to dated grunge music) defeated Kurrgan and Golga (the former Earthquake under a mask) in a match that would serve as the swan song of sorts for the Oddities gimmick. This was a thing that happened. Let's just leave it at that.

Steve Blackman defeated Owen Hart via countout when Owen Hart walked away after a few minutes of some solid action that included Blackman giving Owen a sharpshooter to massive boos (we're in Canada, remember) and then Owen walks away because this is a thing that happened. This whole thing is supposed to lead to the Blue Blazer gimmick that would lead to Owen Hart's death... suddenly, I'm depressed.

The Brood (Gangrel, Edge, and Christian) defeated The JOB Squad (Al Snow, Bob Holly, and 2 Cold Scorpio) in a six-man tag thing that happened. The Brood had a cool entrance and music that I dug back in the day while the JOB Squad comprise lower-end guys that creative have nothing for.

Goldust defeated Jeff Jarrett via disqualification. The finish came that while the ref was distracted, Debra (yes, that Debra for those who know) smashed a guitar over Goldust's head and Jarrett pinned him for the win. However, then-commissioner Shawn Michaels reversed the decision, citing that the guitar shot got Jarrett disqualified and gave the win to Goldust. The reason for this is because if Goldust won, Debra would have to strip... and well, she starts to strip before being covered up by the Blue Blazer to massive boos. Okay, so this was an excuse to get Debra naked. Fine, I get that. Why did I have to sit through twelve minutes of boredom to get that tease?

WWF Tag-Team Champions The New Age Outlaws defeated Big Bossman and Ken Shamrock in what feels like the show's first really good match in a while to retain the titles that they'll end up losing to said team the next night on RAW... because sure, why not? What's the point of paying 20-30 bucks for a PPV when you can get a title change on free television instead?

Mankind defeated WWF Champion The Rock via passout to not win the title... because while Rock did pass out from the pain and lost the match, Vince McMahon declared that the title can only change hands via pinfall or submission (give up.) Rock did neither, therefore he retains the title. This ties back to a statement Mankind made regarding him not giving up or getting pinned the last time the two had a match. I like that bit of continuity... and the match wasn't too bad, either, for what it was... but they'd have much better (or perhaps more infamous) matches down the road.

And in the main event, Stone Cold Steve Austin defeated the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match that featured a ton of brawling, Taker getting tossed into a hole, Kane tombstoning Taker while in the hole, and finally Austin burying Taker with a backhoe and a shit ton of dirt for good measure. This is not a pure wrestling match with lots of holds nor is it a pre-planned sequence of MOVES with pre-determined spots to go through; this was two guys who hated each other beating the ever loving piss out of each other in order to get one of them in the hole and buried. The crowd was into it, the emotion was there, and the ending had me falling over in laughter.

This was a fun way to end what was otherwise a so-so PPV. The first chunk of it was rather pointless, but once you hit the last three matches, shit starts getting good. You're not really missing much here, but at least the matches were fun spectacles of different flavors and I appreciate that from a show.

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